Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Glasgow 17-0 Edinburgh

Tempers boil over after the final whistle during Glasgow Warriors vs Edinburgh Rugby in the Guinness Pro14 - 1872 Cup Rd.2 at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Edinburgh were probably quite happy with underdog status despite going into the second leg of the cup a game ahead, which was possibly why their opening kick off could be charitably described as hopeless. With a makeshift front row, they’d probably hoped to hold off from a first scrum longer than 45 seconds too.

They survived, but it wasn’t long before Glasgow were winning penalties in that particular set piece. The first points came for a breakdown penalty, with Hamish Watson getting on the wrong side of referee Mike Adamson and Finn Russell kicking the penalty.

Glasgow had far more patience with ball in hand than they had last weekend and were using their big carriers well, but it was Edinburgh who had the first proper chance. Once again superb, Stuart McInally streaked through the Warriors defensive line after a nice pop pass from Sam Hidalgo-Clyne but he knocked it on in the tackle before he could deliver to either of the supporting runners.

Glasgow also had half chances, but couldn’t escape the paws of Edinburgh’s defence to exploit them fully. Fraser Brown and James Johnstone both left the pitch just before half time after a clash of heads which put paid to a promising tussle with McInally. The home side had the edge in terms of discipline and the scrum, but everywhere else Edinburgh were edging ahead in a cagey first half hour that fizzled but never really burst aflame.

Alex Dunbar
Phil Burleigh tries to get a hold on Alex Dunbar -pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

If you’ll forgive the metaphor, it was a different sort of fire that ended the half in bizarre fashion as a (false) fire alarm in Scotstoun’s North Stand caused a full-scale evacuation of the whole stadium, players, TV crews: the lot.

After some time standing in the cold, the coaches agreed to end the half at the 38 minute mark when the alarm had sounded and play resumed after a well extended half time break.

Half-time: Glasgow 3-0 Edinburgh

As in the first half, Finn Russell took the first points with a penalty to increase Glasgow’s lead. With most of the crowd returned to the stands the atmosphere was still slightly muted – standing outside in the cold will do that to any buzz you might have built up pre-match – and some entertaining rugby was badly needed.

A superb kick chase by Matt Smith to marshal the impressive Jaco Van Der Walt got the Warrior Nation chanting and then a great break from Kinghorn with an offload to Watson got the away fans buzzing. It still was missing that last pass going to hand, perhaps due to defensive pressure caused by smothering effort from both sides.

On the breakdown, Adamson was more on Glasgow’s wavelength than Edinburgh’s and Jamie Ritchie gave away one that Russell put deep into the corner. A maul and a try would be a formality for Jonny Gray and the pack you thought, but Gilchrist and Toolis did great technical work to defend it and win the turnover. Gray is a tireless workhorse, but his best partner in the second row for Scotland is likely to be one of those technicians who add something a little different.

Hamish Watson
Hamish Watson – pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Unlike last week’s clash, despite the greater physicality, there wasn’t as much edge and it was 50 minutes before there was even a hint of handbags. But otherwise it was similar to last week, in that Edinburgh refused to be killed off going into the closing stages of the game. Aside from the ever dependable McInally, “Bill” Mata was tireless for the men in red and Hamish Watson relished the chance he was denied last weekend.

Still, they kept giving away penalties in the tackle area which would have infuriated Richard Cockerill in one way or the other, and Russell – dead-eye with the boot once again – kicked his third penalty to make the score a comfortable 9-0.

Despite never really convincing at the close in power game, it was probably enough of a cushion eked out for Glasgow to start throwing it about when George Horne was introduced with twenty minutes to play. The two Matts, Fagerson and Smith, were solid as a back row pair in Fagerson’s first game back from injury. A big talent aged 19 – Mrs Fagerson will be proud.

They duly started taking quick lineouts and throwing offloads – back to Plan A – but as in previous weeks it wasn’t effective enough to overshadow Edinburgh. Their backline led by Jaco van der Walt and Blair Kinghorn went about their business quietly and effectively – but just like Glasgow’s more starry names they weren’t quite able to get round the opposition defence.

Russell kicked one last penalty with 6 minutes to play to put the result beyond doubt.

Although there were a few more of those fluffed half-chances by both sides – including a huge forward pass to Niko from Finn Russell that should have gone to Huw Jones just outside him – the game ended in typically odd fashion with a Lee Jones try in the corner (unconverted) then a mass scuffle when Fraser McKenzie objected to Chris Fusaro celebrating the scrum shove that led to it.

An odd end to the year, but unlike most of this game: it’s been a good one.

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

SRBlog Man of the Match: Finn Russell deserves plaudits for his excellent goal-kicking and Zander Fagerson put in a big shift for Glasgow but once again Stuart McInally was the standout player on the park for either side. Superb in the loose, tackled to a standstill and mostly excellent at the lineout. Alex Dunbar, Matt Fagerson, Jamie Ritchie and the Edinburgh second row all played well.

25 Responses

  1. Some good tussles in a tight game. McInally had a good game in the loose, as did Fagerson Junior. The Glasgow front row/s won it I thought. Given the Edinburgh injuries in that area, it’s hardly surprising. The locks were fairly even and the back rows cancelled each other out. The Glasgow scrum had a bit of a nudge on, and Glasgow played a more forward oriented game than they’re used to. Whenever a backs move looked on, a pass always seemed to go behind the receiving player. I don’t think they were over-running the ball, it was just bad passing under pressure. There might have been one or two tries otherwise. The shove-fest at the end was just letting off steam for me. No big deal.

  2. That was another pretty bad game – lots of errors and ‘unusual’ officiating. Watson’s first two penalties were harsh, and Adamson let Glasgow off the same offences, high tackles were apparently acceptable, there was loads of inconsistency, and 15 penalties without a yellow? Odd.

    On the upside, the Fagersons were very good, Grigg indestructible, McInally on form, Kinghorn sharp and both sides brought the physicality, but sadly no funk. Sad to see injuries, too. Fraser Brown seems to have had a lot of concussions this year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he missed some of the 6N.

  3. I was in the east stand and really enjoyed the match. Both teams know each other so well – corporately and individually – I think this is why their strengths are cancelled out to such a degree. The stadium evacuation was handled well….good smart decision….to go straight to half-time. Well done to all those who dealt with it.

    The second half was the smartest game I have seen from Glasgow in a long while. Kept it tighter, kicked well with the wind, played territory and built scoreboard pressure. For all the champagne rugby in previous rounds, there has been precious little sight of such pragmatic play in Glasgow’s season to date….at least until now. Are the hard lessons finally sinking in, with better reading of the match situation?

  4. Thought that was a fairly standard ‘derby’ game. They are seldom pretty. As a Glasgow supporter, I have to say I thought Adamson gave Embra a hard time. Still, back on track, and hopefully some of the injured are ready for the push.

  5. On another note, as we won’t get a separate thread, London Scottish had a very decent festive pair of fixtures. Close to the bottom of the table, we managed a frankly hilarious 52 – 52 draw with Bedford at RAG and then followed that with a last minute win at Nottingham 21 – 17, a ground we lose at regularly. Well clear of the drop now, albeit the sum of the parts is less than the side.

    Chewie just outstanding week in, week out.

    Sure The Chiel will have his thoughts to share.

    ?? to all who contribute so thoughtfully on here.

    1. Didn’t see either game, mikelinds but 52 each is basketball which makes me grumpy, and the last minute score at Nottingham ( which I was due to go to so also grumpy about that ! ) was simply justice after the RAG loss. Absolutely agree about Chewie – just a workhorse, and someone will have a look at him shortly if he carries on like this.

      HNY to all.

      1. Knew you would bite. I think if we had been offered 7 points off the two games we would have taken them. Bedford was a farce frankly, but given I think we are both the most open sides this sort of a score was a possibility. Ecstatic about Nottingham, heads didn’t go down even 17 behind with 20 to go. Very cold outing, very warm feeling. Please, please sign THE Chewie up right now for next year.

  6. The forward pass was disappointing , he should have fed Huw Jones who would have easily worked something with Nico. I like everyone expected Glasgow to go the same way from the scrum but Horne went blind, Edinburgh stunned and the try was well taken, so at least some good came of it.

    The alarm was a bummer, Glasgow had the scrum and were beginning to gel. A better all round game and McInally was in charge, Scotland VC perhaps !

    1. Yes the switch in play was very clever and very well executed. Would be interested to see who made that call!

  7. Some thoughts on Glasgow.

    I thought Pat MaCArthur had a good game after he came on! Seemed to improve the line out. Glasgow front row was pretty good all round.

    Possibly Grays best performance whilst captain. The more direct approach and aggressive defence allowed him to lead from the front.

    The back row looked good against a more fancied Edinburgh trio.

    Young Horne got sacked a couple of times but looked lively once up to speed. Price slightly off his best again this week.

    Grigg is a nippy nugget! Surprised how late it was before Jones came on.

    Russell controlled well although his forward pass to Niko was a shocker! The attack still isn’t quite working properly. Might be worth Toonie getting the backs together earlier than planned for the six nations preparations.

    Brown and Dunbar look injury prone again!

  8. In truth I don’t think either game presented Scottish rugby in a particularly positive light. Glasgow could and should have won both comfortably with the extra man one week and Embra down to Championship bottom club prop in the second.

    But derbies do that, and Embra would I’m sure have taken 4 points before the start. Very much like the look of the Saffer winger, and Kinghorn looked solid throughout, which is a real positive. All the talent but but has been flaky on many occasions.

    Glasgow are cruising to a semi final, but need to tighten their game up. As has been said, seeing out a game and keeping a clean sheet is no bad thing.

    1. Have to agree with your comment about Duhan vdM – he looks like a serious guy. Visser, but much harder.

  9. I’m sorry if I’m coming across rather negative, but these last two derby fixtures have dampened my expectations for a successful 6Nations campaign, with both sides looking rather uncoordinated. Another 1872 snorefest with two predictable sides cancelling each other out at every opportunity as the players know each other so well. For me it raises some questions:

    1. Would a 3rd Scottish pro team vary things up and make Scottish Vs Scottish games more exciting?

    2. Do we need to install a more expansive style of play we’re drumming into our grass root development players?

    3. Despite the fashion of Edinburgh’s come back at Murrayfield – What else can the SRU, Glasgow & Edinburgh do to enthuse greater crowds to a game that’s consistently quite a dull spectacle?

    Apologies if that sounds really pecimistic, I’m just looking at ways to combat the negatives and hold our boys to a higher standard. On the + side great to see McInally leading the way and bang on form.

  10. I didn’t get to see the second half but what I saw in the first looked promising up to the last pass which for both teams just didn’t come off. Edinburgh’s attack looked better than it has in other games I’ve seen this season.

    1. By comparison to other home nation derby games it’s sluggish, lacking execution, and uncoordinated. It’s also a style of play that doesn’t match Toonie’s fast game style.

  11. Can’t say these games bother me at all for the 6 nations. Providing Russell, McInally get through okay. Happy Hogmanay

  12. I fully understand that it is early evening on Hogmanay and I am already on the wrong ( or right end of my third Balvenie ) but is it not possible to show a photograph from the actual game ?
    More specifically : what is Henry Prygos doing there ?
    Rotten game but absolutely irrelevant to the Six Nations. Happy New Year.

    1. Tony, your wish is our command, I’ve put in a selection of pics from the game now.

      But in short: no, it isn’t always. Images are subject to copyright so we cannot source them from just anywhere. We are very lucky that Al Ross provides our exclusive and excellent images but they are not always available immediately following the final whistle as he has to process them and upload them, usually after going home and thawing out first! I prefer putting the report live when it is ready and getting the discussion happening on the right post. If the laptop goes away at that point then the images just have to wait but we like to showcase Al’s work as much as possible.

      Enjoy your whisky!

      1. I really like the top picture. Not sure if little George Horne is being held back by Rob Harley or encouraged to join in. Anyway Gray seems to have it all under control!

        First Scotland training camp might be a bit tasty!

  13. Coming to this late so apologies. It was a chilly Scotstoun last night. Made worse by the uncoordinated madness of the 30 minute evacuation. It was pleasing to see Glasgow play with more patience and conservatism. The new frenetic style has let them down when the beefier, top European sides counter that with forward aggression. It will work in time, but is develishly difficult. Richard Cockerill has worked magic with Edinburgh and he deserves immense credit. Let’s hope from a National perspective that our top props and hookers keep fit in the month of January. Bennett and Taylor on the cusp of recovery, Strauss on fire and McGuigan back fit. Roll on Wales!

  14. Getting to the business end of the season now, Glasgow have a few tough away assignments to come up (Munster, Ulster and Scarlets as well as Embra) so need to look at maximising remaining home games and getting key players fit again such as Gibbins, Sarto, Hogg, Wilson and Ash. Looking good for semis but need to be able to perform when we get to the big dance!

  15. Thinking back about the game probably the key thing that Glasgow will take out of it was that they stopped Edinburgh from scoring. You don’t see many “nil” results at this level. Edinburgh did get a few line breaks but the Glasgow’s cover defence was pretty good. Glasgows game plan was very pragmatic and direct and they played the territory game well in the 2nd half. It’ll make a few of the other teams in the Pro14 think as they know that Glasgow can implement Plan B if its not a day for throwing the ball about.

    1. What a good positive point. Looking back Glasgow were going to lose to someone, the pressure was mounting against them and it is a monkey off their backs.

      I would rather see the Braging rights going accross the M8 than going anywhere else. What a message it would send if both our pro sides went into the 6N without a loss in January. How about that for a new year wish.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion